Tuesday, November 8, 2011
When You're Strange, Tom DiCillo's 2009 feature on The Doors, is not your typical recent-vintage rock doc. filled with interviews from random talking heads.
Rather, this film is largely comprised of original footage of the band and its charismatic lead singer and focal point, Jim Morrison. Johnny Depp narrates as the film follows the group's formation and early days through to the recording of their studio albums, live shows, and not-infrequent controversies.
There's some valuable discussion of the group's musical influences, from Sinatra and the blues to fellow L.A. rockers, The Byrds and Love. I especially enjoyed this aspect of the film, as the legacy and influence of their Sunset Strip contemporaries is sometimes overlooked.
You can watch the film here or rent/buy it via Amazon.com, if you prefer.
Check out these extra interviews with Robby Krieger and John Densmore at PBS' American Masters webpage. Ray Manzarek was also fond of the film, which he felt got The Doors' story right.